The Mall Rail Link

With the closure of the runway at Filton to aircraft, a new railway line could be built across the defunct runway to The Mall shopping complex. This line would join the existing freight line from Avonmouth to Bristol Parkway station at a point north of the east hanger. Heading westward, it would curve north, before straightening to align with the Marks and Spencer end of The Mall. The ground is flat from the junction with the Avonmouth branch to the Mall, so earthworks would be minimised.

The purpose behind this proposal is to build a tunnel beneath The Mall for the delivery of goods directly to the shopping centre. The line would enter tunnel to pass beneath Merlin Rd and the adjacent car park and terminating under The Mall itself. The terminus would be serviced by an underground system of conveyors to distribute goods around the shopping centre.

Being so close to the Filton rail junctions, goods trains from north, south, east or west directions could be accepted. The potential is for the removal of a vast number of lorries from the busy intersection of the M4/M5 motorways, greatly relieving traffic congestion, improving road safety, and providing for a more environmentally friendly solution of goods transport to The Mall.

This transport proposal is the most limited of several available. Clearly one could provide a triangle to link directly with the busy Avonmouth port (e.g. delivery of cars to the Mercedes/BMW/Audi showrooms), and also extend the loop to re-join the Severn Tunnel main line, but such proposals would incur greater cost. In addition, the potential for a passenger link to The Mall is an enticing prospect given the heavy traffic around this region.

Why the contribution is important

First, it has the potential to remove the concentration of heavy lorries from the roads local to The Mall. There are obvious benefits in terms of environment, road safety and congestion. Second, it has the potential to attract more trade to the area, allowing a freer flow of traffic on the roads and, if the option to include a passenger transport facility is included, allowing shoppers to visit directly by rail. Third, it is a relatively cheap solution: the new line would be no more than a mile long, would avoid the destruction of existing infrastructure, and is built on flat terrain.

Overall, therefore, the proposal can be expected to be extemely cost-effective.

by user156674 on December 03, 2013 at 09:42PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 2.7
Based on: 7 votes


  • Posted by user428889 December 04, 2013 at 14:52

    Hi Ted
    Most of what you propose lie beyond the Bristol City Council boundaries.

    The West of England Partnership councils are currently working together on the MetroWest project to improve the sub-region's railways:

    We all want to see better railways in the area (George is a railway enthusiast), but the MetroWest plan is the only realistic plan at the moment. We are actively pursuing funding for it and have received some encouraging noises from government. Take a good look at the plans for MetroWest - a lot of planning, costing and transport studies have gone into them.

    Your plan would need multi-million pound investment from the UK government and National Rail. Due to the financial crisis of 2008 and the government's national deficit reduction programme - there is less money around for major capital transport projects.

    Ted - the Mayor is looking for realistic and practical ideas we can achieve in Bristol. We're afraid it's not within the gift of the Mayor of Bristol to fund and build railways in South Gloucestershire.
  • Posted by user563645 December 04, 2013 at 17:45

    Although this is possibly not the right forum, I believe this is a good idea, I would like to see passenger services offered also, perhaps a short piece of track linking Henbury Station (hopefully re-opened soonish) and the Mall, just ferrying passengers to & fro. I know, a pipe dream, but I just though I would put it out there!
  • Posted by user412750 December 19, 2013 at 15:26

    I agree - it's an extremely good idea, and should not be sidelined just because it doesn't fit in with artificial boundaries. The problem that it seeks to address is far more important than tedious questions of territory.

    This is a far more sensible idea with clearer benefits than than HS2, and the government (and the opposition) appear to be fully prepared to put eye-watering sums of public money into schemes of dubious value, even when the economic times are tough. So I don't accept AskBristol's argument.
  • Posted by user936495 January 08, 2014 at 19:43

    close the mall down.... it has been the major driver in the decline of Bristol City Centre. Make it difficult tro drive to and impossible to park!
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